May 26, 2024

Texas Carbon Monoxide Poisonings Increase In Wake of Power Outage

An article in Forbes is highlighting the fact that Texas carbon monoxide poisonings are increasing in the wake of the killer freezing temperatures and lack of power in that state. It seems that people are bringing outdoor grills inside and are leaving gas stoves and ovens open and running all night. Those are all bad ideas. All of those heat sources release carbon monoxide, which is invisible, odorless, and a silent killer. According to Forbes, Cook Children's Hospital has treated over a dozen children for CO poisoning. And over 300 carbon monoxide poisonings were reported in Harris County alone, where Houston is located. Several people have died. Heatrs that malfunction, indoor use of grills and camp stoves, and kerosene heaters cause carbon monoxide poisonings and death every … [Read more...]

Summer is Still Here: Avoid Food Poisoning During Picnics

Even though school has started in many areas of the country, it's still summer. And that means picnics. The CDC has advice to help you avoid food poisoning during summer picnics. The first step is to make sure that the foods that should stay cool are cool. That means that perishable foods should be kept below 40°F, whether that food is raw meat or poultry, or a dip made with cream cheese. Those foods should be kept in an insulated cooler, with ice packs, frozen drinks, or freezer packs, until it's time to cook and eat. Always cook meat thoroughly to a safe final internal temperature. And use a food thermometer to make sure that temperature is reached. Here's something most people don't think about: wash the temperature probe after you test meats and poultry and they aren't fully … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Tips for Safe Grilling This Summer

The USDA is offering tips for safe grilling this summer. With Memorial Day over, the summer grilling season has begun. Foodborne illness tends to rise during the summer months, because temperatures are warmer, and people tend to travel with food. Properly handling perishable foods during travel, by making sure all food is kept at a safe temperature, avoiding cross-contamination between raw meats and poultry and foods that are eaten uncooked, and using a food thermometer when grilling can all help prevent food poisoning. If you are traveling to a location where you will grill, perishable foods must be handled in a special way. Bacteria grow quickly in warm weather. Perishable foods must be kept at 40°F or below to reduce bacterial growth. Any perishable food, cooked or not, that … [Read more...]

Tailgating This Weekend? The USDA Offers Food Safety Tips

Tailgating, or eating in the parking lot of a stadium, is very popular during football season. Keeping food safe at these events requires safe food handling techniques, especially since refrigeration and running water aren't available. The USDA is offering tailgating tips to help keep you safe. You can download a PDF of this information at the USDA web site. Always pack cold perishable foods such as raw meats in insulated cooler with frozen gel packs or containers of ice. Keep an appliance thermometer in the cooler to make sure the food stays at 40 degrees F or below. Pack raw foods and cooked foods in separate coolers. Hot take-out food should be eaten within two hours of purchase (don't start the timing when you arrive at the event). All perishable foods should be eaten or … [Read more...]

Stay Food Safe This Fourth of July

Several organizations are publicizing food safety for the Fourth of July holiday. The non-profit group Partnership for Food Safety Education has released several videos called Ugly Bug to remind consumers to cook chicken to 165 degrees F, to cook burgers to 160 degrees F, and to avoid cross-contamination by using clean plates to hold cooked food. has released information about food safety as well. Always clean the grill before you cook, and wash your hands frequently before preparing food, during preparation, and before you eat. Don't use the same utensils for cooked and raw foods. Always use a food thermometer to determine when food is cooked; you can't use other methods, such as visual or textural cues to tell that food is safe to eat. Never let perishable foods sit out … [Read more...]

Oscar Meyer Father’s Day Bacon Gifts Temporarily Sold Out

Anyone who was hoping to say "Happy Father's Day" with a gift box of Oscar Meyer bacon may be out of luck.  The company has temporarily sold out of it's three Father's Day bacon gift packages sold in "velvet"- covered boxes: The Commander, which sells for $22, comes with 18 -20 slices of bacon and a money clip.  The Woodsman sells for $25 and comes with bacon and a multi-purpose tool. And The Matador, which sells for $28,  comes with bacon and a set of bacon cufflinks. If you can't give the gift of bacon, but are planning to planning to grill something up for Dad. Be sure to follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's guidelines for safe grilling. Give the grill and your prep areas a good cleaning before you start. If you are marinating the meat,  do it in the fridge, not on the … [Read more...]

Food Safety: You Know The Grill

If you’re firing up the grill this weekend, remember to put food safety first. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration both have good information for outdoor cooks. Here’s a summary of what they recommend. Are you going to marinate your meat? If so, do it in the fridge, not on the counter. Don’t re-use the marinade as sauce for the cooked meat. If you do want some for sauce, divide the marinade when you make it. Set aside some for sauce, use the rest for marinade. Do you plan to partially cook something to reduce grilling time? If you are, do this right before you are ready to put it on a hot grill. Otherwise, you are setting the stage for bacterial growth. Use a food thermometer. This is the only way to tell when meat is cooked properly. Make … [Read more...]

Stay Food Safe This Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is next week; many people celebrate with cookouts and barbecues. And the USDA wants you to stay safe and serve safe food. They've put out a video, infographics, fact sheets, and podcasts at FSIS' "Grill it Safe" webpage. View the video for safe grilling at YouTube. Be sure to follow the food safety rules of: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill whenever you prepare food. USDA's Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen said, "We want to provide families with important information that will help reduce the risk of foodborne illness during their Fourth of July celebrations. Small children and the elderly are among the most vulnerable to foodborne illness, and this information is essential in protecting loved ones at family barbecues and picnics." Clean Bring … [Read more...]

USDA: Grill, Baby, Grill! But Do It Safely

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry Hotline fields a lot of questions about the proper way to grill meat and poultry, and with the season of summer barbecues kicking off this weekend they have compiled a list of tips and frequently asked questions. Here is a summary of the recommendations: At The Store Choose packages that are not torn and feel cold. If possible, put them in a plastic bag so any leaking juices won't contaminate other foods. Make the meat counter the last stop at the grocery so purchases stay cold as long as possible. Separate raw neat from other food in your cart and bag it separately. If the meat is going for a long car ride, it needs to be stored on ice in a cooler or insulated bag. At Home Refrigerate or freeze raw meat and … [Read more...]

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